For Alexei Ratmansky’s latest revelation, a deep and vivid Nutcracker, the former Bolshoi director and current American Ballet Theatre resident choreographer has absorbed influences as various as Balanchine and Mark Morris. Yet in spirit, story and choreography this two-hour drama is indelibly his own: at once goofy and wise, theatrical and musical, casually gestural and mindbogglingly virtuosic, entertaining and moving. Despite its setting in the cosily domestic Biedermeier era of 19th-century Germany, it is also thoroughly contemporary.
Like many Nutcrackers, this one offers a child’s-eye view of life’s wonders and terrors. Like many, it reveals our heroine, Clara, stretching towards young adulthood. But its vision of this blooming is all its own – with the fantastical learning to live in peace with the real, the private with the public, the gleefully childlike with the soberly adult, in an intricate psychological design.
Further he notes:
Yet the choreographer does not make the Soviet mistake of having Clara instantly shed her child heart and fall lustily in love, at which point Candyland would only bore her. Rather, she and the boy mix awkward hugs with snowball fights.
When Drosselmeyer gives Clara the Nutcracker, his attention to her makes the doll grow. That’s how this whole Nutcracker works. Ratmansky restores a sense of wonder to creation.
go and read the whole of this wonderful review via FT.com / Arts / Theatre & Dance – The blooming of a virtuoso
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.